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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Insurance Defense and Probate for Virginia on
Q: My friend left me an insurance policy...family don't want to send it to me ...he died 3 months ago...how can I find out
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 10, 2019

If you know the issuer of the policy, you can contact them. If you see that a probate estate has been filed, you can check the filings there, identify the policy, and make a claim if the policy has been included in the estate. If they will not cooperate and those sources are unsuccessful, a lawyer... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My realtor & broker refuses to take our property off the market after we told them to. Is this legal?

We wanted to get out of our contract but they declined that. So we decided to take the house off the market. They then told us the house would remain listed until the contract expired. Can they do yhis

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 10, 2019

You need to read the listing contract and understand its effects. First, have you given an exclusive at a named price? What happens if they produce a willing, able, and ready buyer at that price? Are there exceptions for the discharge of the broker, like, for example, hiring another broker? What... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What happens to the estate if all individuals named in the will can’t be located?

Will in probate in Arkansas

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 5, 2019

All of my states have a procedure for depositing the share of the missing heir into the registry of the Court. Consult a local lawyer or the probate clerk's office.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can I break my lease if my apartment complex is being sold to a new company?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 5, 2019

No. Unless the then-owners agree with you to terminate the lease early, your lease is not affected by their transaction. Of course, there may be tactics to secure that agreement, and a lawyer might help with that.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for District of Columbia on
Q: Estate Representative. One beneficiary is in federal prison. What is DC Probate law for distribution of money?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Oct 4, 2019

Being in prison doesn’t disqualify someone from an inheritance unless they killed their benefactor.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Under Maryland law if my condo is vacant (5 yrs) and I have told the HOA, can I still be charged for a common meter?

I thought that if notified the HOA would exempt you from the common electrical meter. I own a condo in 6 - 8 unit building with a common electrical meter. I notified the HOA that the condo would be vacant while working out of the State, so my usage has been zero for over 5 years. The unit has... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 24, 2019

The answer almost surely follows your declarations and the democratic decisions of the elected board. Start by reading those documents.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: I was the PR for my father's estate and I closed out the account about 5 years ago when I thought I had accounted for

everything, however, I found a claim in MD via the unclaimed property unit. I received a check made payable to the estate of my father care of me (the PR). How can I cash that check so I can pay the distributees? Check is for $102.86

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 15, 2019

I know of no way to do it other than reopening the estate. It isn't hard, but it means filing a new accounting, and that certainly isn't worth the effort using a lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: I became administrator appointed by the courts after my aunt left my mother out of everything.

I have sent my aunt the paperwork from the courts and the renter of the house by certified mail. They have not abided by the court papers and sent me any info or rent money for the house. The rent we believe is still going to my aunt who is not executor or administrator to the estate . Can we go... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2019

I think I answered this one before. You have a duty assumed in your appointment as Administrator to marshal the assets, and that means using the power of the court to determine what is going on. Whether you do that by discovery in a chancery case or show cause orders or other motions depends upon... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Need advice as administrator to will

My uncle passed with no will. My aunt and my mother are only surviving family . My aunt was the power of attorney before he died. After his death she sold property of the estate and gave other things away without consulting my mom. I became administrator of his estate. There is a house that is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 13, 2019

Your options as I see them without an interview are:

1) Accept that your aunt is stealing from the estate. As Administrator of the estate who failed to protect the estate, you are likely to be personally liable for her thefts.

2) Resign and report the thefts to the Court. Let is be...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Difference between offer to purchase real property and purchase agreement in Virginia

Buyer and seller entered into vague offer to purchase property in April. No further word from buyer until seller sent letter in August, stating all offers/ contracts have been rescinded. Buyer then called with closing date, saying he'd sue for breach of contract. Is offer to purchase a valid... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 12, 2019

You need a lawyer to review the actual exchanges. If an offer was accepted, it is a contract from that moment on, and it follows its terms until completed or breached.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: How long does a seller have to remove personal items from the property after the sale is completed?

The seller returned several times a few weeks after the sale to take items from the mobile home yard and patio. Now, over a year after the sale, the seller returned to claim items in a outside shed. In the process,the previous owner cut off a lock on the shed and started to remove items. The... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 10, 2019

What's required is a contract review. In most sale of real estate contracts, there is a provision that items on the property except for a list in the contract convey to the buyer. If not, the common law of bailment probably applies, and the buyer became a gratuitous bailee of the goods. He may not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can someone sell a brick and mortar home but not the land it is built on?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 6, 2019

This is actually fairly common in parts of the United States. Baltimore has a long-standing tradition of selling houses that sit on land held by long-term lease. But, such situations can be quite complex. They can also be the basis for a fraud or a non-fraudulent misunderstanding that means you pay... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In a Life Estate Will can siblings NOT design. to live in the house, move in w/o approval of those who were designated?

Should the sheriff be called if non-will-designated siblings try to move into the

House?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Sep 2, 2019

I don’t understand your question. If you are the life tenant, you have a right to occupy until your (or the life designee’s) death subject to claims of waste by the remainder-men. If someone else is the life tenant, you have nothing but a claim for waste until the life tenant (or the life... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a homeowner still sell the home that is in foreclosure and pay off the loan to the bank before the bank sells ?

The mortgage bank (Wells Fargo)will not allow any modified (smaller) payments, will not work out any forbearance plan until the total amount past due is paid first. The home just went into foreclosure. As homeowners can we still put the house for sale and pay off the bank loan before the house is... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 22, 2019

You need to get it sold before the foreclosure sale, and a lawyer can often get the bank to wait for a sale. If the mortgage is greater than the sale price, it is called a short sale, and that is also possible. You need to move on it responsibly now, but you do not need bank consent unless they... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Maryland on
Q: I have 2 text messages from my deceased spouse saying I can have the house, Can I submit this to the court.

He died without a will and now I need to pay his adult children he had before we married, becasue oft he value of the home. My name is not on the deed. I am in Maryland

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2019

You should sit down with a lawyer to review the estate and your rights. While a text is not a Will, and it will not be binding, you have certain rights as the spouse.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Follow up, if there report is NOT, furnished, what recourse does the renter have for getting back security deposit, an
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 20, 2019

It depends on your county and city. Some have landlord & tenant enforcement offices. In others, you'll need to sue for return of the deposit, probably in General District Court as a small claim.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can an HOA Board ask its members to vote to kick seven properties in a section of the development out of the HOA?

The seven properties are geographically separate from the main part of the community. The Board to seeks to have them removed from the HOA, eliminating their responsibilities to the HOA (i.e., dues, covenants, by-laws, etc.), as well as the HOA responsibilities to them. Is this legal? What are... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 19, 2019

The only competent basis for reviewing that and getting to an answer is reviewing the bylaws of the HOA and the covenants on the properties. Generally, within the constraints of the bylaws, covenants, and state law, an HOA can alter the terms of the contract with the vote of the board or the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My husband was left his cousin's house in her will. Only heir.

She died very unexpectedly so after settling the estate in VA, my husband came to a gentleman's agreement to allow her second husband to live in the home and pay the taxes. It's been two years though and we feel we need to take possession of the home. We're afraid we've let too long lapse and it... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 18, 2019

You need a landlord and tenant or a real estate lawyer, and then you need to give proper notice to quit. If he doesn’t quit, the lawyer can take it from there. If your “lease” is enforceable because something is in writing, and you gave tenancy for the term of the tax payments, you may be... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: VIRGINIA. Son dies intestate. No administrator declared. Mom heir of succession. She dies in July with Will. Now what

My fiancé died intestate on June 8. No Administrator of his estate was filed and his mother was heir of succession. She died In late July before filing the affidavit of heirship on the house. Does the house now enter her estate and probate as she died with a will? Is the rest of his debt/assets... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 14, 2019

In Virginia, real estate passes automatically subject to the filing of an estate or a Will. If there are debts or other assets, Unless you are named in the mother’s will or are owed some debt, you seem to have very little interest in this matter.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In Cecil Cty, MD, am I able to file a contribution claim against my ex-husband regarding a home deficiency that I paid?

My ex-husband and I owned a house in Cecil County, MD, which eventually foreclosed due to him leaving the residence leaving me unable to pay the mortgage on my own. About 5 yrs ago a deficiency judgement was entered against both of us, but I wound up paying it solely on my own. I'd like to go... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 12, 2019

I suspect you have a statute of limitations problem, but you may want to review the facts with a lawyer in a sit-down consult. There may be an applicable exception.

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